Bunny Friends with Chameleons

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I’m not normally one to be grabbed by a ‘cutesy’ image, but this new rubber stamp from Penny Black / Margaret Sherry (dated 2009, so re-released?) definitely caught my eye. It’s one of those stamps that comes with a coloured image on the wooden block, which really helps those that need guidance on colouring in. I’ve used my Chameleon Pens to colour these in, which really came into their own for the shading on the pots. It took a couple of goes to find the right combination to get a good terracotta colour, which is why the pots are different colours between the two cards. The lettering is cut on my Silhouette Cameo – I found I need to set the cutter to ‘deep cut’ on the on-board screen, which meant the little serifs didn’t end up tearing.


When I met… Ken Oliver

This is a shockingly late, shameless promotion for all that is Ken Oliver. We’ve been Facebook buddies [like him here] for a little while (after all there aren’t that many gentleman crafters at shows and we need to stick together), and I have had the pleasure of saying hi a couple of times in person at trade shows. This February he was here in the UK promoting his new ‘own brand’ crafting goodies, and he was kind enough to do the whole selfie thing with me, demonstrate his new Color Burst watercolours and give me a promo pack of 12×12″ Studio series of papers and a 6×6″ sampler pack of his other papers.

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I thought I’d use the 4×6″ journal cards sheet from his Studio collection to start off my new Project Life scrapbook, and they worked perfectly. The papers are printed on a satin finish light cardstock which feels smooth to the touch. There’s no bleed through from the Sharpies I used for some of the handwritten text, which is a bonus when working on double sided papers. As one might expect from an artist that’s been in the trade for years, the designs and colours used all work together beautifully. One slight hitch I noted when gluing things down – the satin finish does resist water-based liquids a little, as I found when I was using Zig Memory Systems two way acrylic glue. Something to be aware of, though that didn’t turn out to be too restrictive in practice – it might be more of an issue if spritzing with water/Color Burst (something I’ll test out).

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Ken was also demonstrating his Color Burst watercolours. These are fine crystalline colours, conveniently dispensed from fine nozzle bottles. They appear to be similar to Brusho crystals (becoming very popular in the UK) in their reaction with water, both to make a watercolour paint, and in spritzing on the page to make vivid backgrounds. Where Color Burst beats Brusho, in my opinion, is the finer, more even crystal size and the fine nozzle capped bottle. I’ve knocked over a holed Brusho pot into my distress ink pad storage box, and the turquoise crystals continue to find their way into projects, much to the annoyance of my Tuesday night ladies… The reverse of my Project Life page shows a couple of samples from Ken’s beautiful Watercolored Memories 6×6″ papers (top left, bottom right), and the rest are Ken’s own demo sheets showing the vivid colours and dynamic reactions of the crystals with water on watercolour paper.

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Thanks to Ken for having a chat, demoing his fabulous products, and especially for the goodie pack. Sorry it’s taken me so long to fulfil my promise to post about our chat!


Art Journal Page: Alphabets by Design

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I’ve just got back from a couple of days holidaying near Cromer, and true to form, the English weather was not favourable – it was a bank holiday after all. It did, however, mean that I had chance to use my art journal travel kit to finish off this page which has been a work in progress for a couple of years. Each time I found a new font suitable for hand drawing, I added it to the borders. This weekend, I added the zentangled letters and the rest of the centre text.

Background is distress inks on gesso, text combination of black pigment markers/Sharpies/Signo white gel pen. Colour added using Caran d’Ache Neocolor II crayons with a waterbrush.


Quilt No 016: Scrappy Strip QAYG

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I’m leading another quilt workshop at Quorn Country Crafts in Loughborough next month, and I decided to set myself the challenge of making a second sample in as short a time as I could (the first being here), to see how far an experienced quilter might get during the session. From start to finish, this small sampler took me just over 6 hours, including the quilting and hand binding. It measures 13″x24″ and used up some scrap fabric kindly donated by Sue who runs the shop. I took the opportunity to try some quilting designs I’d not attempted before, and given a little more time, I’d have done them a little more carefully (and across the whole of the quilt)! It’s somewhat eclectic, but quick to make as a sampler, and a great way to use up bits and pieces of fabric that languish in every quilter’s stash.


Laser Cut Planter Kits now available

Until I’ve got round to setting up a Kickstarter project and found funding for my own laser cutter, I’m having to outsource my laser cutting. For my first laser cut project since college, I thought I’d mass produce some ‘planters’, suitable for the topiary trees I make with polystyrene balls and Craftwork Cards Candi (examples here and here).

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The planters are roughly 2 inches square and 2½” high and cut from white faced 2mm thick greyboard. I’ve made sure that they are simple to construct and stiff enough to hold up the tree (or whatever else you choose to put in them). I’m pleased to announce that the kits are now available to purchase for £3.25 (including p&p and an instruction sheet). All you need to add is decoration and a cube of polystyrene to poke your tree into.
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Art Journaling: Dylusions Paints

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It’s been a while since I managed to sit down and create – I’ve been supervising renovation work at home and making tea every 90 minutes to keep the builders suitably hydrated. Rather than using a half inch paintbrush last week, I was attacking walls with a roller and emulsion. That’s left the room nicely decorated, but my carpal tunnel playing up.

Any hoo, last week a long awaited shipment arrived, including a set of Dylusions Paint by Ranger. Why on earth would I want yet more paints? They are billed as blendable acrylics, and they certainly do that. They come in wide jars, are quite fluid and smooth on beautifully with a foam blending sponge. The paint spreads thinly, but seems to be highly pigmented, so gives excellent coverage. It seems to have a little slow dry retarder in it, enabling the blendability which is excellent. That also makes the clean up easier as the paint was slower to dry on stencils and stamps. Thin layers on absorbent surfaces were very quick to dry. Subsequent layers took longer, even with a heat tool to speed up the process. Opacity in the main is good, with the white showing good coverage of the colours beneath. Also, a little paint goes a long way – each pot is likely to last a long time: all the stencilling on the image above was achieved with just the leftovers on the sponge. I’m certainly not disappointed with them, and will be introducing them to my art journal group sessions in due course.

Also never been used until this page: new letter stamps from Hero Arts – Kelly’s Shadow Letters and Kelly’s Bold Font, stamped in archival Jet Black and augmented with Signo white gel pen (thin and broad).


Art Journaling: using gesso and sprays

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For next Monday’s art journaling session at The Studio, we’ll be playing with gesso. This is one of my sample pages, using both ‘normal’ gesso and the Finnabair Art Basics heavy body gesso to get some texture, as well as faded colour onto my pages. There’s also some never-been-used action here, with the IndigoBlu ‘Beautiful Mind’ stamps and the Stampendous ‘Marks’ stamps by Nathalie Kalbach. The lettering is freehand, first painted with the gesso, tidied and augmented with broad Signo white pigment pen and then outlined in Sakura Jelly Roll Gloss Black.

If you’d like to join one of my Art Journaling Sessions at The Studio, details are here. You can also get details of the sessions using the link on the sidebar or under the Workshops tab at the top of the page.